Lil Rich Girl wins HH Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race
DUBAI — Hot favourite So Big Is Better sprinted home unchallenged to land the Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Arabian Stakes while Lil Rich Girl cruised to victory under French amateur jockey Marie Rolando in the HH Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR race at the Fairplex Park in Los Angeles on Friday.
The two races were held under the umbrella of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival with the ladies event making debut in Los Angles after San Francisco last July.
In a nine-horse field chasing the prize fund of US$30,000, jockey Jesus Agosto Velazguez managed to overcome the young challenger Ayers under Barrington Harvey with Luis Medina finishing third on Chollyroger SWA.
So Big Is Better took 1:59.11 to win the 1700-metre dirt contest and jockey Velazquez said the workouts on the track here helped a lot. “He ran a good race today and we have been doing our workouts here and that helped,” said Velazquez after his win in the Stakes event.
But the loudest cheers of the afternoon at the Fairplex Park were for the 27-year-old French horse insurance agent and amateur jockey Marie Rolando.
In the seven-furlong race restricted to mares and fillies, Rollando followed the trainer Ken Danyluk’s instructions and struck success with Lil Rich Girl winning in style and hot favourite Ms Dixie in third behind TM Maddamme. It was a 1-2 for Danyluk and Rolando, who will now appear in the Championship finale in Abu Dhabi, was elated.
“The trainer asked me to keep him in front and that was an easy thing to do and once we approached home he was too good. I ride in Chantilly where I am based and this is a different experience and I am so happy to have scored my biggest win,” the French jockey said.
Abdulla Ali Al Saboosi, the UAE’s Consul General in Los Angeles; Dr. Wadooda Badran, Advisor of the Arab Women Organisation and Lulwa Alawadhi, member of the Bahraini Consultative Council and Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Head of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) for Ladies Racing along with other US Arabian racing officials, attended and gave away the trophies for the two races.
The UAE envoy Al Saboosi said: “This is a great start to the Festival’s debut in Los Angeles and I am confident that the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival will make a huge impact on Arabian racing in the region. It was heartening to see another new winner in the HH Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR race series.
“This reflects the depth of the series and we now move to Stockholm in Sweden for the next leg of the Festival’s races,” Ms Sawaya said.